Meet the Team: Jessie Valadez

by | Aug 10, 2023

Get to know Jessie better with our little Q&A, below, and check out her bio on our Who We Are page.

What is one unexpected delight that brings you joy?

I use to live near a bakery. The air smelled like freshly baked bread every morning, and I thought that was a lovely way to start the day. Now whenever I smell fresh baked goods, I’m reminded of those early mornings, and it still makes me smile.

What is your “golden moment” in each day that you look forward to? 

I enjoy the process of coming home after work. I typically throw on a new tune in the car to listen to on my way home, which helps me decompress from the day. I love pulling up into the driveway, seeing the beautiful plants in the yard, and the dog wagging his tail at me from the door. 

Who in your life sparks inspiration for you? 

I have so many people in my life who inspire me. I’m grateful for my community which is full of positive and supportive individuals. I have a wonderful family, an amazing partner, and I adore my friends. I grew up with a lot of strong and independent women, and I’ve been fortunate enough to cultivate a group of friends consisting of smart and talented women. 

Can you share a piece of advice that has fundamentally shifted your perspective? 

Happiness is my yardstick for success in life. If I don’t feel happy and fulfilled, the other stuff doesn’t matter. My mom is responsible for nurturing this theory. 

Have you recently discovered or altered your opinion about something? What provoked this change? 

I’ve changed my mind about the concept of time and productivity. In the past, I felt the need to always keep a full plate. At one point I was working 40+ plus hours per week, working on a second master’s degree, teaching and attending yoga, and volunteering. I thought this meant I was leading a productive life but was stretched too thin and lost perspective. I’m in the process of reclaiming my time. This is liberating.  

How do you perceive a successful journey in your role at AFF? 

In my past professional life, success meant winning. I loved to win and to win meant getting someone stably housed. I’ve had to redefine my concept of success in this role. I enjoy making new connections and creating new partnerships with agencies throughout the community. I get to learn every single day and that’s wonderful. I also work with some brilliant folks and I’m very happy to be a part of the AFF team, which means I’m meeting my happiness yardstick standard. 

What is your top-used gif? 

Lucille Ball is pretty standard. I do Love Lucy.